Burton Island is a 2.5 mile long island state park off of the shoreline of Lake Champlain. It is a car free paradise that requires a boat or ferry to get to but yield the rewards of peace, nature, and gorgeous shoreline.
Campsites at Burton Island book far in advance. When we booked our Labor Day weekend tent site back in March, there were only 2 leantos (out of 26) left and a handful of tent sites (out of 14). You can visit https://vtstateparks.com/burton.html to book a reservation. The campground is open from Memorial Day Weekend through the Tuesday morning after Labor Day.
We stayed at site 7 in the main tent site loop. While we didn't technically have shore line access, there was a short path through the woods that led to a rocky shoreline where we left our canoe and kayak. There was ample space among the trees for hanging hammocks. The dirt and gravel pad was mostly flat, without any pesky roots to poke us. The site also drained very well--it rained all night our last night and we had zero seepage into the tent floor.
The tenter section was just a short walk to a clean bathroom up on the hill. Each side had one shower that cost 50 cents per 5 minutes of shower time. There are two other bathrooms available but a further walk. The tent site section was also nice and close to the Marina area, which included a store that serves coffee and sandwiches (the coffee was decent!). While one could hear the folks docked down in the Marina when they hung out on their boats, our site was not close enough for their noise to be a nuisance. There is a water access point within 300 feet of most campsites--which was perfect.
Dogs are allowed at Burton Island, but there are areas at the State Park that they are not allowed, such as the beach area. Alcohol consumption is also allowed, but there wasn't any problem with people partying loudly or obnoxiously.
There are beautiful trails that cover the island. The south tip of the island gets more wind, and therefore waves, which my children greatly enjoyed for swimming. The northern part has shale beaches, and a few areas of mucky/pebbly beaches. Lots of old trees abound as well. There are also tons of frogs! The trails are all short enough that they could be explored during one day--or go on them multiple times for sunsets and sunrises.
Getting to the island was the hardest part. Depending on the weather, the 3/4 mile crossing from Kamp KilKare State Park can be rough and windy. If you are an experienced paddler, have a good copilot, and not too much gear, you would be fine. Also, if you have a boat with a motor, most of the time the water is not too rough. However, the Island Runner Ferry is likely the best option for most people who want to enjoy the island without being stressed about swamping a boat! The ferry is $8 per person, with no extra charge for gear. They do charge $2 for bikes. If you want to use the ferry, but still want a kayak or canoe at the island, you have to paddle it across separately
Overall, we had a fabulous time. We watched a sunset on the South tip, caught frogs at our shoreline, rented a paddleboard, played int the waves, and enjoyed the icecream sandwiches form the camp store, skipped stones in the lake, and explored the island. Our kids can't wait to go back.
Since I am a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the fun task of testing products every now and then.
This camping trip I was quite thrilled to be chosen to test out a product from Nature's Coffee Kettle. We LOVE coffee, and generally bring our French Press and hand coffee grinder along camping so we can have a good cup of joe.
As parents of 5 kids, we always need LOTS of coffee while camping. During this trip, we tested out the International 16-Cup Pack. We even left our own coffee at home so that we would not be tempted to use it instead.
-- Nature's Coffee Kettle is basically an ultra-lightweight version of a pour-over coffee system. The basic component of the system is a heavy duty plastic bag with a spout and built-in funnel. Their coffees are really ground coffee (not instant) packaged in portions for 4 cups. The envelope of coffee gets placed into the funnel portion of the plastic reservoir, and you pour boiling water slowly over it. Sometimes you have to pause for the water to finish trickling down. The whole process takes about 4 minutes. The trickiest part of the system is the need to hold the bag upright while pour--a few times it tipped over since the base didn't have enough weight in it.
Coffee verdict: It tasted GOOD! Not quite as amazing as the stuff we brew at home, but honestly, as good as most coffee I have had at coffee shops! We liked the Sumatran and Guatemalan flavors the best, though we also tried the Columbian and French Roast.
System verdict: It was a little tricky to use at first--be careful not to burn yourself! I did love how lightweight it was, and how little space it took up. The plastic brew system folds flat, and is reusable. It would be fantastic for backpacking. It was so much better than instant coffee.